The Missionary Training Center is quite a place with around 400 to 500 missionaries coming in each week. We will only be there for 5 days and we decided to travel back and forth from home each day. Many of the younger missionaries stay longer to learn a language or wait for visa's. At any one time there are between 1,000 to 3,000 missionaries in training there.
When we first arrived at the center we stood in one line after another to get badges, make travel arrangements, get a meal card and finally get into a preliminary orientation group. It seemed like there was some sort of "heavenly connection" thing going on the first day, because we made connection after connection with different people. First, we met Elder and Sister Bass, a couple from South Carolina, who knew the Riches, owners of Beacon Metals (Jim's employer for 42 years). As we were talking to them we mentioned that we were from West Jordan and we heard a voice behind us say "did you say West Jordan?" It was Elder Clarke who just graduated last year from West Jordan High School and knew many of the kids from our home ward.
Jim later said that making all those connections made it seem like it was the Lord's way of making us feel like He knew who we were and that it might have been some little "tender mercies" meant just for us and those we met.
One of the speakers in our afternoon meeting asked who was nervous. It is strange, but Jim and I both later mentioned that we are not nervous, but feel very peaceful about our mission. Even with all the adversity we have experienced the last few months (our minor health problems and major health problems of family), we feel so fortunate and blessed that we can have this experience to serve the Lord. We feel that it is quite a miracle that we are able to go on this mission, but perhaps an even greater miracle that we can feel peaceful about it! It must be the prayers of so many family and friends that are helping us along.